Smoking or chewing tobacco has long been known to be harmful to our overall health. Many, however, are not aware of the dental health dangers that can arise from using tobacco products. Below are a list of the dental health effects caused by the use of tobacco.
Ill Effects From Tobacco Products
Use of tobacco products have direct effects on the oral cavity. We use our mouths to smoke and chew tobacco. Chewing tobacco is in the mouth damaging tissues for extended periods of time. When smoking, the smoke is in the mouth for a short duration, but can cause tremendous damage as well. The issues that using tobacco products causes include:
- Chronic Bad breath (Halitosis).
-Discolored Teeth. Nicotine and tar present in cigarette smoke, form deposits on tooth surfaces and cause discoloration of teeth. These discolorations can range from yellow to black. Most smokers are aware of this discoloration but it is almost impossible to remove the stains using regular home care techniques.
-Dry Mouth (Xerostomia). This occurs when the salivary gland openings become inflamed.
-Bone changes. This can include changes in the quality and the quantity of bone supporting teeth, which may lead to loose teeth and tooth loss.
-Increased Risk Of Developing Periodontal Disease. Periodontal disease, chronic inflammation of the gums and bone support of the teeth, is a leading cause of tooth loss. The most recent research studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and advancement of periodontal disease. A study published in journal of periodontology highlights that smokers are 4X more likely to suffer from advanced periodontal disease. Also, the chemicals in tobacco can make oral surgery or periodontal treatments less predictable. It seems that smoking interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells. This interference makes smokers more susceptible to infections, such as periodontal disease. Every Time you inhale, the blood vessels in the mouth constrict and impair blood flow to the gums. This decreased blood flow affects wound healing. Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to have the following issues:
-Reduced Healing and higher incidence of dry socket after tooth extractions.
-Increased Risk Of Oral Cancer. Oral cancer affects almost 40,000 Americans each year. Oral Cancer kills one person per hour (totals about 8,000 deaths per year). Only a little more than 50% of those 40,000 diagnosed, will be alive in 5 years. This is a sobering statistic that has stayed steady for quite a few years. Around the globe, the problem is even greater. There are a reported 640,000 new cases of oral cancer each year.
-Precancerous tissue lesions of the gums, teeth, and lips.
-Increased Risk Of Tooth Decay.
Is It Possible To Quit Using Tobacco?
Yes! A person needs to be ready to quit however. A half hearted effort will lead to failure. If you are truly committed to quit smoking, your dentist can help with certain medications. These can include nicotine gum, nicotine patches, puffers (an artificial cigarette with nicotine only), or referral to your physician for stronger medications . Most of these are over the counter medications but others need a prescription. For example, Zyban andChantix are prescription drugs used to help patients quit smoking, and must be monitored by your physician.
Herbal remedies, along with hypnosis and acupuncture, are other treatments that may help patients quit smoking.
Using tobacco products has a dramatic effect on our overall health. We know the damage it causes and have seen great developments in treatment of the damaging effects. Cessation of smoking is the key to success! There are many treatment/therapies to help you when you are ready to quit. Speak to your dentist and physician, they may be the best way to help you kick off your new, healthier, smoke-free, lifestyle.